17th August 2023

Magnetic water balloon warning

OPSS has issued an alert about the dangers posed by certain magnetic reusable water balloons.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is warning of the dangers posed by certain magnetic reusable water balloons. The warning comes after OPSS identified reusable water balloons that present a risk of death or serious injury if two or more magnets are ingested.

OPSS investigations revealed some magnetic reusable water balloons being sold, via online marketplaces, have accessible magnets that have a higher magnetic force (flux) than is allowed.

All magnets have the potential to be dangerous when swallowed, as they can cause serious internal injuries and death.

OPSS said people who have bought the balloons must:

  • Stop using the affected products immediately, dispose of them safely and keep away from children.
  • Be vigilant, watch out for of signs that could indicate accidental ingestion in children, like vomiting and stomach pain.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you believe a magnet has been swallowed.
  • Contact the seller you purchased the product from; you may be entitled to a refund.

OPSS has required those businesses that sell these products to ensure they are taken off sale and emphasised the importance of meeting their obligations under product safety law. Any products that contain magnets, where there is a risk of ingestion, must include clear warnings about the dangers.

Businesses should not sell reusable water balloons containing small magnets that exceed the magnetic flux index set in Standard EN71, or which otherwise breach the safety requirements of the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011.

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